SWEDISH MEATBALL PASTA BAKE – Think Swedish meatballs meets a casserole, and that’s what we’ve got going on here today. Nifty, right? I tend to prefer casseroles in the winter time. Maybe it’s because they tend to be heavier and ideal for cold nights. Which means if you’re counting calories, then save this recipe for a day when calories don’t count (like the weekend or on vacation).
SWEDISH MEATBALL PASTA BAKE
— 1 and 1/4 cups plain panko bread crumbs
— 4 tablespoons butter
— 2/3 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
— 2 teaspoons salt
— 1/2 teaspoon pepper
— 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
— 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
— 3 cloves of garlic, minced
— 2/3 cup milk
— 2 eggs
— 1 pound (ca. 454 g) ground beef (I used 85/15.)
— 1 pound (ca. 454 g) ground pork
— 3 tablespoons oil
For The Pasta:
— 2 cups shell pasta
For The Sauce:
— 6 tablespoons butter
— 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
— 4 cups beef broth (I used low sodium, equivalent to a 32 ounce (ca. 1,210 g) box.)
— 1/2 cup water
— 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce * (See Note below.)
— 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
— 1/2 cup heavy cream
— 1 tablespoon salt
— 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
FOR THE MEATBALLS:
Add the panko bread crumbs to a large bowl and set aside.
In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter.
Add the finely chopped onion, salt, pepper, allspice, and nutmeg and cook for about 5 minutes. Stir often.
Add the minced garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
Turn the heat down to low/medium, and add the milk. Stir everything together and bring it to a simmer.
Once the onion mixture has come to a simmer, pour it from the pan into the bowl of panko bread crumbs and stir everything together. The mixture will be very thick. Set this bowl aside to cool.
In a separate extra large bowl, add the eggs and beat them.
Then add the ground beef, ground pork, and cooled onion mixture. Mix everything together. (It’s gross, but it’s easiest and quickest to do using your hands.).
Form about 30 balls and then chill them in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Once the meatballs are done chilling, in a large skillet over medium heat, heat up the oil.
Add the meatballs to the skillet in batches and cook them until they are browned on all sides, about 15 minutes. Batches made it, so the pan wasn’t overcrowded, which made flipping them and seeing when they were done easier.
Transfer the meatballs to a dish and set them aside.
FOR THE PASTA:
Cook the pasta al dente according to the directions on the box, drain it and add it to a 9 × 13 oven safe baking dish.
FOR THE SAUCE AND ASSEMBLY:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. (This is not part of the sauce steps, but you’ll want the oven preheated by the time you are done with these steps.)
Place the meatballs into the baking dish, nestling them into the pasta.
In a large skillet on medium heat, melt the butter.
Add the flour, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes.
Stir in the beef broth, water, Worcestershire, salt and pepper and bring it to a simmer. Stir often.
Reduce the heat to low/medium, and add the parsley and heavy cream. Stir everything together constantly and cook it until it thickens, about 10 minutes.
Carefully pour the sauce over the meatballs and pasta.
Bake the Swedish meatballs, pasta, and sauce in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
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